Assignment: Disaster Reply 4

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1. Behavioral Health Response to Disasters, Author: Framingham, Julie:

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Assignment: Disaster Reply 4
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Original Question:

For this week’s Forum, respond to the following:   To date, the effects of disaster events have been introduced through our course materials as well as the ways to interact with survivors of these disaster events. At particular risk for negative reaction in disaster situations, natural or man-made, are children and adolescents. Dependent upon the child’s/adolescent’s stage of development, responses to disaster events can vary significantly. Our course materials provide excellent guidance for those charged with aiding children and adolescents in disaster events.

· After review of the course materials, share your understanding of assessing and providing appropriate disaster behavioral health care for children and adolescents.

· Outlining how the process differs from that of disaster behavioral health with typicaladult populations, note any significant factors you feel contribute to or hinder the recovery process with children and adolescents.

Reply to the following response with 200 words minimum. (please make response as if having a conversation, respond directly to some of the statements in below post. This is not providing an analysis of the original post. Respectfully address it and even ask clarifying or additional questions.)




This week is something that interests me with my son having Down syndrome. Although our forum does not reference special needs, I will add it into my post. When it comes to understanding and accessing children and adolescents, it is also important to take into consideration the effects of the parent or parents. In many cases the child’s reactions to a disaster can mimic those of the parents as they are seen as the role model in the child’s eyes. Different ages can also affect the responses from a disaster or trauma.

One theory I read about and believe strongly in is the developmental ecological framework. This model suggests that both risk and protective factors are present in all children at varying degrees, and that these factors can either be activated as aggravators or buffers against trauma. I in no way baby my son or my ex’s daughters, but I ensure they are all trained on what to do in an emergency and how to react when it comes to certain disasters. The more they know and the more they are capable the better prepared they will be and less likely to be negatively affected. The only child not currently involved is my son, but I maintain extra formula, baby water, oxygen, and anything else he may need given a disaster. I have also through this research found the Emergency Information Form for Children with Special Needs which will help hospital and EMS workers during a disaster, and I will be filling out and keeping handy for my son (Pediatrics, 2010).


When it comes to disaster behavioral health in children and adults, there are many differences and many different ways the two can be affected. In adults, the PTSD can stem from the loss of family, property, or other items. In a child, the effects can stem from how a parent reacts. As stated above, the parents mental status during a disaster and prior to can determine the child’s mental reaction. A child in most cases will also feel less control, understand less about the situation, and have fewer experiences bouncing back from hard situations (Prevention, 2015).

For others help and resource I was also able to come across a Department of Health and Human Services site that provides information on quite a few areas of disaster for special populations. This information for my provide knowledge for my son I was unaware of but can now be more prepared by using.




Pediatrics, A. A. (2010). Emergency Information Forms and Emergency Preparedness for Children With Special Health Care Needs. Retrieved from


Prevention, C. f. (2015). How are Children Different from Adults. Retrieved from


Services, U. D. (2017). Special Populations: Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Retrieved from


It is imperative to provide appropriate disaster behavioral health care for children and adolescents being that when it comes to disasters, they have the potential to cause short- and long-term effects on the psychological functioning, emotional adjustment, health, and developmental on children (Schonfeld, & Demaria, 2015). There are practical ideas that can be put into place in order to identify common adjustment difficulties in children in the aftermath of a disaster while also promoting effective coping strategies. Unlike typical adult populations, children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of disasters and other traumatic events because of a lack of experience, skills, and resources to be able to independently meet their developmental, social-emotional, mental, and behavioral health needs. If proper treatment is not established disasters will continue to cause short- and long-term effects on the psychological functioning, emotional adjustment, health, and lead to issues in their health and psychological functioning even into adulthood.

One extensive way to deal with the recovery process for children is the active involvement in parents and family members. Sometimes as adults you can get so caught up in your own recovery process that you forget about your children.  To avoid this, parents and family members should remain with children to the extent possible throughout the evaluation and treatment process as well as providing their comfort as a source of coping for the children.  An example of a coping strategy would include distraction or attention-refocusing techniques, like a calming touch or use of gentle humor. In addition, counseling has shown to serve as an effective aspect in recovery. Let’s say a parent is in a counseling session with a child that is in recovery from a disaster. The session includes a main focus of perception of the incident. In understanding that this part of risk assessment is as important as the actual experience of the disaster itself (American Military University, 2018), a parent can serve as a source of support and guidance, a parent may feel overwhelmed and could temporarily leave the counseling room, they should notify the child before leaving that they will be in an adjacent area and that the counselor or pediatrician will remain with them for a few minutes until they return.

American Military University. (2018). WEEK 4: Effects of Disaster on Children and Special Needs Populations [Lesson notes]. Retrieved from

Schonfeld, D. J., & Demaria, T. (2015). Providing Psychosocial Support to Children and Families in the Aftermath of Disasters and Crises. PEDIATRICS, 136(4), e1120-e1130. doi:10.1542/peds.2015-2861



Good Morning Class,

For this week’s assignment I think that the vulnerability theory would make for a good discussion. The theory is based on that vulnerability is random and not fairly distributed among the population. I can see both sides of this potential argument. I would offer that vulnerability in some circumstances is not random but a planned thought out process. Take for example Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that occurred in the city. What were the most badly damaged areas of the city? The simple answer the poor minority communities. You ask yourself why were these communities hit so hard compared to the more affluent parts of the town. You can look at segregation through the past century and see that minority communities were formed in the areas of cities that possessed the most risk to disaster. The prices were lower and the wages minorities made were and in some cases still are. So you could logically conclude that they were relegated to these areas by design. As part of the PFA you could say that they were provided safety and comfort, from the dikes and levees that were constructed to provide them a higher level of safety. I would say that they had services available for their mental health following the disaster, but as you can still see today the area is still mostly abandoned and has never been rebuilt to the conditions before the hurricane. (Teasley, 2012)

One the other hand I can also see self-inflicted harm leading to a vulnerable state from residents in the local communities surrounding me. When I look at the people who have been through some of the local flooding repeatedly and choose to remain in the same location, waiting for the next flood. One individual interviewed on the local news had claimed that in the last 12 months he had been flooded three times. After each rebuild was completed another flood would occur and he would have to begin the process all over again. I know common sense would tell me that if my home floods it is time to move to higher ground. When selecting a site for your home you should do the research on the possibility of flooding and use that to reduce your vulnerability.



Teasley, M. L., & Framingham, J. L. (2012). Behavioral Health Response to Disasters. Boca Raton, Fla: CRC Press.


** Please don’t just rephrase their info, but respond to it. Remember to answer question at the end if there is one. **


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